I’m often weary of criticizing Scandal for two reasons: I love Shonda Rhimes and I fear Shonda Rhimes. Shonda’s clap back is one of the smoothest in all the land. She will get you together in 140 characters or less as she sells ABC her billionth TV show all while writing and producing the other 200 shows she currently has on air. And I really, truly adore Kerry Washington.
With the niceties out of the way, I can now get to the question at hand: How much longer can Scandal go on? I was excited about the start of season four, but as I complained for weeks, I hated the kidnapping storyline. It was cute for maybe one episode — the midseason premiere — but it dragged on and on and on to the point where I called out to God and Beyoncé to give me the power to reach through the screen and save her my damn self.
Thankfully, that ended, but now we are back to Rowan Pope’s return and a battle for the future of B613. Doesn’t that feel a bit like deja vu only without Jay Z and an awkward dance break in the middle of nowhere? I’m all for tying up loose ends, but this show needs a lot of conflict resolution. As in, Olivia needs to find out that her father killed her BFF. Liv has to make up her mind about Jake so he can either stay or truly run off into the sunset. Then there is Fitz and that eternal “will they or won’t they” angle — that’ll likely always be a part of the show so we will have to just roll our eyes together. But the rest can be fixed. Speaking of fixing, Scandal could probably go on forever if it returned to its original vision as Olivia Pope the fixer. Maybe it’s too far gone at this point, but I have enjoyed Olivia fixing people’s problems in the midst of the other bizarreness. I’d rather Liv fix my life than Iyanla. Insert 100 emoji here. And maybe, just maybe it’s time for a major cast shakeup. Bring in some new OPA associates. Let Huck’s crazy ass go be crazy as s--t in suburbia. Let Quinn get herself a new life and an advanced degree. My girl may be a killer, but perhaps she could utilize those skills as a lobbyist or something. Same skill set, to be honest.
There are some things about this season that I’m enjoying. Finally, we are getting to see Mellie explore her political ambitions. Abby is given more screen time outside of the context of Liv’s homegirl. For a second there, Ms. Pope was getting some from men not named Fitz or Jake. Even if not perfect, I liked that the show tackled race directly. Those are all great things. I just need more of those great things. Scandal is campier than The Good Wife, but one thing I love about The Good Wife is that the show is willing to push itself and do whatever — losing major characters, totally changing the trajectory of major story arcs — for the sake of advancing the show and making it feel just as new and fresh in season six as it did in season one. I want that for Kerry Washington’s vehicle because I could watch Kerry Washington weekly for the rest of my life and be elated — only not with this show if things don’t shake up a bit.
Talk to me, gladiators. But not, like, only with four letter words and angry NeNe Leakes GIFs.
When we caught up with Washington at the start of season three, she weighed in on the thought of playing Olivia well into her AARP days.